To the St Paul and St Andrew community,
As your pastors, we are deeply saddened by the events in the land we call Holy. As we sit down to write this, 113 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 31 children. 6 Israelis have been killed. At least 600 people have been wounded. Hundreds of warplanes are bombing densely-populated Gaza. Nearly 2000 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza. As the violence in Gaza and Israel intensifies, our hearts go out to those who are living under the shadow of fear, pain, loss, anger and long-simmering hatred. We mourn and we are deeply worried. We believe that all people have the right to a home, a place to be safe and to be free.
Three years ago, we spent time in Israel and Palestine in the company of our beloved Rabbi Felicia Sol and several other pastors and rabbis. The people we met with, Arab and Jew, Israeli and Palestinian, were working hard for a different future, a vision of a place that would take into account the demands of justice in the quest for peace.
It is hard to see that work now, but it is still happening. We are heartened by reports of Arab citizens rushing to save a burning synagogue and groups of Palestinians and Israelis gathering together to say no to the escalating violence. We ask you to pray, with us, for a swift end of the conflict and for a just and lasting peace for this sacred land and its precious people.
Rev. K Karpen and Rev. Lea Matthews, pastors
St Paul & St Andrew United Methodist Church